Posts tagged ‘being a DIYer’

August 27, 2015

Arden’s Mom

Owl bag puppet copyYesterday began the 1st day of the new school year.

I was nervous.

And excited.

And it wasn’t even me starting school.

Last year, shortly after Arden started first grade. Picking her up after school one day, she told me that her Art teacher was going to a different school and that she was sad. Upon clarification from her teacher, the students weren’t required to have art all the semesters. The Art teacher would be back at their school mid-January. So in the meantime, the kids would have nothing. Arden looked at me so sad.  Honestly, the thought of school without it devastated me. I realize that sounds dramatic, but as a kid, that was my life. I LIVED for Art class. Each of my teachers were amazing and I loved them. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without their guidance and encouragement. At that moment, I knew I was going to have to do something.

I approached Arden’s teacher with the idea, which she was all for. Lo and behold, I would also be able to bring Cam. I’d like to mention that her teacher had the patience of a saint. With 3 kids of her own and being in her thirteenth year of teaching, she was so laidback, but firm, we couldn’t have gotten any luckier. I walked into the classroom the first day and Arden’s eyes just shown. She could barely contain her excitement. I, on the other hand, was hugely apprehensive. I’m used to just making things with one kid, not 20. I nervously waited for the students to finish their assignment before I launched into what we were going to do. The room was just buzzing!  So many wound up little people, wondering what was happening next. At some point, introductions were made, but the kids paid no mind and simply referred to me as “Arden’s Mom.” A title I’d never thought I’d be so proud of, but has come to completely thrill me to the being of my soul. Mama with feather art head dress copyNative american head dress with feathers and paint tree art copy art turkeys copy

And so, for the next 3 months I came in once a week to do projects with the kids in Arden’s class. I had tons of scrap cardstock that I was finally going to put to good use. Most of the other materials I had on hand and the kids already had glue, scissors and markers. While Arden was a whiz at cutting since she was 3, a lot of them still needed practice. I’d make up templates and have some things made ahead of time, while still leaving them to work on the skills they needed.

Some kids were more than happy to follow my basic instruction, but most often than not, their minds and creativity took over. Everytime, they’d swarm around me like baby ducks, asking for assistance or proudly showing off their work. One boy’s paper bag owl puppet, became a Minecraft-type owl complete with a sword for an arm. One kid, instead of making the porcupine out of toothpicks, asked to make Sonic the Hedgehog out of toothpicks. One girl, no matter what the project, always managed to turn it into something with a dragon. I wasn’t an Art teacher and we weren’t technically in Art class, so why not? We had that freedom.

Then there was Cam. In his carseat, he’d either nap or rock himself. He never cried. Maybe because, at all times, at least 1/3 of the class would be out of their seats to play with the baby. Doing silly stuff to get him to smile or try to feed him a bottle. As time went on and he grew, they delighted in seeing the new things he was able to do. The teacher would remind them to get back in their seats and finish. They would, only to be replaced by new kids eager to make the baby laugh.

My time there went swiftly. Once the actual Art teacher was back, I cried. When I would drop off Arden to her classroom in the morning, I’d still have kids asking when I would be back to teach them Art. I was able to come in a few more times after that, for holiday parties or for science experiments, just so we could have an excuse to make things together and play with a baby.

I think of all this as I drop off Arden yesterday and feel a bit sad. I hope I will have some opportunity to come in and work with this new class. To get to know the kids and see some of the returning ones from last year. Just then, I see Arden’s teacher from last year and ask for a hug, which of course, makes everything better. porcupine from art class mrs uncaphers copy

October 18, 2013

Hallie the Duplex : Week 4

We have water, people! We have water!
You wouldn’t think this would be so exciting until you try to do various tasks without it and see how difficult it becomes.
Combine that with the only usable toilet being Arden’s toddler potty and you’ve got a real mess on your hands.

*Disclaimer: I didn’t mean to pee on the floor, but it’s easy to overshoot when you are practically kneeling.

So this week we had great weather thankfully and with the generosity of Joel’s friend Steve letting us borrow his generator, the power washing was underway.

Here we needed to remove caked on dirt that had been accumulating under the old siding.

Hallie duplex week 4 joel power washing

Over in the front, Joel power washed, but the walkway is the most noticeable. The arrows indicate what shade it all used to be.

Hallie duplex updates Week 4 front sidewalk power washed copy

You can also (sort of) see the 2nd front door that was put on which is starting to do a better job at balancing it visually.
For me, this front is a bit challenging because it has such a huge blank space. It feels like a window should be there, but that would take us a considerable amount of extra time to tear down the drywall and through the brick just to do so. In lieu of that, I made due with 2 bushes, purchased for the low price of $17 a piece. (Fall is a great time for deals!) I edged a flowerbed for it, added mulch and VOILA! It’s looking more like a residence.

Hallie duplex week 4 front flower bed

In the meantime, Joel was spraying the back of Hallie blue. We still need to paint the trim back there white, but it also is a considerable difference.
It finally feels like we are making some progress!

Hallie duplex updates Week 4 side painted copy

Coming up!: I add onto our workload by deciding I need to paint the porch. Meanwhile, Joel is piecing together block windows to install.
Catch you guys next week!
Halloe duplex updates Week 4 Coming up next week glass block copy

October 3, 2013

What’s new with Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 2

Hallie Duplex, week back of house copy On Saturday morning, we woke to a sick child, broken car windows for half our street (including Joel’s mustang) and deflating news from the water man that in the scrapper’s haste to make off with all-that-was-metal, they broke off the main source water pipe in the ground. What this means for us is, we cannot get water until we tear up the surrounding cement basement floor and fit new pipes. *YAY!* While we were hoping to power wash and paint (with our newly purchased handy paint sprayer) this coming weekend, it will have to wait until next week when the water can be turned on.

In other news, Joel’s electrician friend will kindly be able to obtain a permit for us that will be $150 as opposed to the previously foretold $400. Oddly enough, if you are a homeowner and live in the home, it is easier to get a permit than if you are just rehabbing it for future renters. Oh, laws and rules, how you baffle me!

Here’s what we HAVE been able to accomplish.

1.) Back shingle-type siding has been removed and disposed off. The wood siding underneath is fantastic! Very excited to see how it will look once primed and painted.

2.) We were not so lucky with the vinyl siding in the front. Upon deciding I really couldn’t bare to look at that beige atrocity anymore, Joel promptly ripped it down, only to discover that there wasn’t much wood actually underneath. Instead, plywood and insulation were popping out. SO, we began the tedious task of putting up pine siding and applying white primer to help seal it.

3.) That crazy-clinging ivy vine has been removed , albeit one side left to go. We’ve also removed the remaining overgrown brush.

4.) A cracked, up-heaved cement walkway lines the side of the house and we pried that up in areas to allow for plants. We decided not to go crazy with the landscaping, as it will be on us to keep maintain, plus everything will die off as winter nears anyway. I opted instead, to just split out some of my hostas and decorative grass from home and plant them here. We also purchased several evergreen bushes and mulch that will go in place after the power washing. I’m excited to cover up the eyesore that is the concrete pad with mulch. It will serve a dual purpose, not having to all be dug up AND it will preventing weed growth.)

Of course, there are still many nay-sayers that feel free to spout off their opinions as they pass. It is amazing the things people will say out of superstition, sheer stupidity and fear. I understand that change is difficult but this neighborhood has seen it share of despair and is on the uprise whether they are ready to embrace it or not. Fortunately, there are many positive comments as well. Continuously hearing “It’s about time!” really makes us happy and helps keep us motivated. It may be a small difference, but at least we are making one.

Hallie Duplex, week 2 side view copy

Hallie Duplex, week 2 front view copy